Organismal Biology & Behavior

Duke's Biology Department has a strong history of research and training in organismal biology and behavior. Physiology, comparative biomechanics, developmental biology, paleontology and macroevolution, neurobiology and behavioral ecology are all well-represented, with faculty working in diverse systems (both plant and animal) and on a large range of interesting problems in these fields. Organismal biology underlies and connects with essentially all major disciplines in biology, so faculty and students in this group have strong intellectual ties across the department.

Susan C. Alberts

Robert F. Durden Professor of Biology

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Vikas Bhandawat

Assistant Professor of Biology

THE GOAL: A major goal in neuroscience is to understand how neural circuits represent sensory information or guide behavior. Because of the complexity of our nervous system it is often difficult to pinpoint the neurons that participate in a given task. Our overall aim is to map out “complete... Full Profile »

Sonke Johnsen

Professor in the Department of Biology

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Peter H. Klopfer

Professor Emeritus of Biology

mother-infant attachments in mammals and imprinting in birds development and control of aggressive behavior, and its neurobiological mechanisms. causes of species diversity. hibernation in lemurs Full Profile »

Daniel W. McShea

Professor in the Department of Biology

My main research interest is hierarchy theory, especially the causal relationship between higher-level wholes and their components (Spencer, Simon, Campbell, Salthe, Wimsatt). In biology, for example, we might want to know how large-scale processes within a multicellular organism act to control the... Full Profile »

H. Frederik Nijhout

John Franklin Crowell Professor of Biology

Fred Nijhout is broadly interested in developmental physiology and in the interactions between development and evolution. He has several lines of research ongoing in his laboratory that on the surface may look independent from one another, but all share a conceptual interest in understanding how... Full Profile »

Stephen Nowicki

Professor of Biology

Our lab studies animal communication and sexual selection from an integrative perspective that includes a wide range of behavioral ecological, neuroethological, developmental, genetic, and evolutionary approaches. Birds are our most common model system, but we also have worked with insects, spiders... Full Profile »

Sheila N Patek

Associate Professor in the Department of Biology

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V. Louise Roth

Professor in the Department of Biology

In addition to conceptual work on the biological bases of homology, variation, and parallel evolution, my research has focused on evolutionary changes in size and shape in mammals: the functional consequences of these changes, and the evolutionary modifications of ontogenetic processes that... Full Profile »

Kathleen Kovalevski Smith

Professor of Biology

My current work is a focus on the relation between evolution and development in the mammalian skull. My model system involves comparisons of development in placental and marsupial mammals. These mammals are characterized by different developmental trajectories, extending back to some of the... Full Profile »

John E. R. Staddon

James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Neuroscience

Until my retirement in 2007, my laboratory did experimental research on learning and adaptive behavior, mostly with animals: pigeons, rats, fish, parakeets.  We were particularly interested in timing and memory, feeding regulation, habituation and the ways in which pigeons and rats adapt to reward... Full Profile »

Vance A. Tucker

Professor Emeritus of Zoology

Vance Tucker is interested in comparative physiology, particularly the energetics of locomotion, and the interactions between an organism's natural environment and its respiratory and circulatory systems. Much of his... Full Profile »

Marcy K. Uyenoyama

Professor of Biology

Marcy Uyenoyama studies mechanisms of evolutionary change at the molecular and population levels. Among the questions under study include the prediction and detection of the effects of natural selection on genomic structure. A major area of research addresses the development of maximum-likelihood... Full Profile »

Stephen Wainwright

James B. Duke Prof Emeritus

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Richard A. White

University Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Botany

Studies in my laboratory are focused on the development and systematic anatomy/morphology of vascular plants, especially pteridophytes. Research activity is primarily concerned with the patterns of initiation,... Full Profile »